Jeremy Whitty is an Associate Professor in Operations and Quality at IE and also the Course Director for the MSc. in Pharmaceutical Medicine at Hibernia College.

One might question if there is a real danger is emphasising a vocational education over the liberal one. After all Herman Goering quoting philosophy is hardly a good advertisement for the liberal artist. He’s not: Goering is a great advertisement for the power of continuous propaganda. In the 1860’s the US and Japan conducted a social experiment where the liberal arts were ignored in favour of technical education. The experiment ended December 7th, 1941.

I have a technology degree, a Masters in Science and an MBA, I am an associate professor in operations and a course director in pharmaceutical medicine, I therefore most certainly value a technical education, in fact it can be as incisive as liberal education if it encourages questions, openness to new ideas, the appreciation of the spirit and a desire to continuously learn. This is the crucial role for education: it must stop coercing people to follow but cajole them to lead. Plato says real philosophy is only practiced when one is over fifty, so for most readers there is still time and some hope, however would it not be a little easier if, when we engage with Smith, Hobbes or Kant we see them as familiar friends not as forbidding monoliths whom we run away from out of fear and awkwardness and watch Fox News instead?


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